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Revelation Revisited



Although I grew up in a Christian home, I only met Jesus in a personal and radical way when I was thirty. Many things changed progressively from that day, but one thing that was immediately different was the love for the scriptures which suddenly gripped my heart. I couldn’t read the Bible fast enough, and it didn’t take me long to get around to studying its last book, Revelation. I remember with great clarity the day when I sat down at my desk at home with paper, pen, the Bible, and a book on Revelation by one of the several popular and sensationalistic authors. As I was about to read the opening verses, and then see what my chosen author had to say about them, a strange thought entered my consciousness. “Have you asked the Lord if he wants you to study this book at this time?” What a strange question to ask! Surely God would be delighted for me to be studying any part of his Word, at any time? But the thought persisted, and so I closed my eyes and dutifully asked the question. There was nobody in the room with me, at least nobody I could see, but I am sure I heard a voice. A strong voice of absolute authority reverberated in my mind and seemed to fill the space of the room in which I sat. One word… “No!” It was an awesome experience, in the proper sense of the word, and it galvanized me into action. I snapped the book shut, and, in one swift action, swept it, together with my notepad and pen, into my desk drawer. Then I sat there trembling and trying to make sense of the experience.

I studied most of the other books of the Bible with great joy and a sense of divine approval, and I also completed a two-year programme of training as a preacher. Then the time came again when I felt I was ready to study the book of Revelation. Surely now I would be allowed to tackle it? It seems strange, even to me, but I experienced an almost exact replay of the event of years before, and again I received a one-word answer … “No!”

Many years and much study later, I was finally given release to interpret this wonderful book. Looking back now, I can see why God had previously prevented me.

Some time ago I did in fact write a book titled ‘Revelation in the Stars – The Sidereal and Written Word’. You can find it by following the hyperlink to the site where you can either order a printed copy, buy an e-version, or even download a free .pdf document.

In a couple of weeks’ time I am starting an extended series of blog posts called Revelation Revisited. If you have been reticent to tackle Revelation, or if you are disillusioned by what you have previously read, then I urge you to give this series a try. Revelation 1:3 reads, ‘Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy…’ so be blessed and read it.

If you have friends or family members you believe would also like to follow this series then please send them the following link and suggest that they subscribe…

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Why Study Theology

For me theology is not the study of God. I find this concept incomprehensible. Imagine an ant looking back up a microscope and attempting to describe to his fellow ants the nature of the one examining him. The idea is preposterous. I understand Christian theology as the discipline that seeks to coherently describe and collate the doctrines of the Christian Faith. More than that, Systematic Theology helps us to answer the question ‘what does the Bible teach us today about any given topic?’

The Bible is not a spiritual dictionary. It does not arrange everything we need to know into categories. To understand what it teaches concerning faith and life we need to study and collate all that it teaches. This is Systematic Theology. In truth, all of us have a theology but often it is disorganised instead of systematic.

It is fatuous to argue that we do not need theology. We speak and act out of what we believe. Theology affects our lives and the lives of others. The better we can understand the Word of God, the better we can live, witness and influence others. All Christians, but pastors in particular, have a sacred duty to be proficient theologians (2 Tim 2:15). Ill-equipped ministers, both lay and professional, have greatly harmed believers and have discredited the church. On the other hand, gifted pastors who do have a developed systematic theology, have blessed and equipped so many believers.

Sometimes I come across someone who says “I don’t need theology because the Holy Spirit reveals to me all I need to know.” People might get such an idea from 1 John 2:27 of course;

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.
Now I really do not want to be offensive, but frankly anyone who quotes this text as a reason for not being concerned with theology is simply demonstrating their great need of it!

The verse in First John is part of a passage that starts in verse 18 and ends at verse 27. It is all about being on our guard against false teachers. John cites two protections against these men. Firstly, we are protected by the apostolic teaching (verse 24) and secondly, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Someone with a disorganised theology might try to separate verse 27 from verse 24. However, a systematic theology would protect from that error. The very first Christians devoted themselves to the Apostles Teaching (Acts 2:42) and the teaching ministry is both taught and demonstrated in many places in both Old and New Testaments (Eph 4:11 etc.). Sound and systematic theology demands that we acknowledge both the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the teaching ministry of the church.

Developing a systematic theology helps us to tap into the best the church has offered over the last 2,000 years. It is true that there has been a lot of error taught over the centuries. It is equally true that God has raised up wonderfully gifted teachers who have left a significant deposit of true understanding. The anointing we have from the Holy Spirit helps us to discern good from bad theology. So, it’s not a case of either theology or anointing, it’s a case of theology and anointing.

We are such a privileged generation! We have the benefit of two millennia of church life. We have access to the best minds and the purest spirits from all generations of believers. We have understandable versions of the Bible. We have books by the thousands. We have great seminaries and Bible Colleges.
The issue is not ‘should I study theology?’ The issue is ‘how should I study theology?’ My advice would be to enroll in a good theological programme. Failing that, make it a discipline to read at least one of the splendid systematic theologies available. Dr Millard J Erikson has produced ‘Christian Theology’ and Dr Wayne Grudem has written ‘Systematic Theology’. These works are both sound and comprehensive. The most effective way to understand the benefit of theology is to ‘do’ it. Karl Barth wrote, ‘The best theology would need no advocates: it would prove itself.’


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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.